The Men Of Renown
by Daegaer

Inibgula laughed as the ball was thrown around the circle. She caught it neatly and threw it to the gentleman. All the children cheered as he caught it one handed and tossed it on without hesitation. Adults did not lower themselves to play with children in the normal scheme of things, and they were all very proud of their gentleman, who would smile and play ball, and tell stories. He was always dressed so prettily, and never seemed worn down with cares like their parents. They knew that it was because they were such fine children that he came to see them and listen to their news of the day. Inibgula knew he came to see her. He would always keep her back when the other children ran to their chores, promising that no one would miss her if she stayed a while. She loved to sit on his knee as he told her special stories and said he was proud of her. He looked like no one else she had ever seen, with his hair the colour of sunlight and his grey eyes. When she left he always put his hand gently against her cheek and called her his dearest child, and asked to be remembered to her mother. He never spoke of her father. She had asked her mother once who the fine tall gentleman was. Her mother had looked both happy and sad, and had walked away without speaking, her back as straight and proud as a queen's.

The ball shot towards the gentleman again, and he caught it without even looking. The children laughed as he made a silly face. All the birds stopped singing. The smile drained from the gentleman's face as the air brightened unbearably behind him. He half turned, an expression of fear on his beautiful features.

"Run! Run, children!" he shouted.

The children stepped back, and turned to run. Inibgula stood still, frozen in amazement as the brightness seemed to look her way. The gentleman stepped squarely between the shining empty air and her. He looked her way a last time.

"Run, Daugh-" he screamed.

The brightness surrounded him. He was gone.


All the angels on earth stood in a despondent queue, wings dragging in the dust. The sun beat down. There was no shade. Up ahead, barely visible in the distance, Aziraphale could see a large desk. Where had all these chaps come from? A lot of them were muttering to each other and looking very worried. The queue moved forward. Hours passed. The desk was getting closer now, and Aziraphale was feeling a bit worried himself. No one around him was talking any more. When he was close enough he could see who was sitting at the desk. Oh dear. The archangels Raguel and Gabriel, and they didn't look happy. Gabriel was reading from a scroll, and Raguel was yelling at the poor unfortunate currently before them. Standing a little behind the desk, Michael was bending Raphael's ear, probably about his latest score in demon-killing. Raphael had a polite, vacant expression on his face. Uriel was keeping an eye on the queue. Aziraphale felt very insignificant indeed. The angels were being sorted into two lots, to the left and the right of the desk. The angel in front of Aziraphale stepped up. Gabriel read something out, Raguel yelled for a bit, and the poor fellow's wings drooped even more. Aziraphale couldn't hear a word, and decided against trying to lip read when he saw Uriel watching him closely. Too late to run, it seemed to be his turn. The angel ahead of him dejectedly trailed off to the group on the left.

"Next," Uriel said.

Aziraphale stepped forward and tried not to look too apprehensive. Gabriel ran a quill down his scroll.

"Aziraphael," he said, in his beautiful and precise manner.

Aziraphale was torn between being pleased to hear his name pronounced right for once, and being terrified.

"Yes, sir," he said.

"What are you doing on earth?" Raguel asked in a nasty tone.

Gabriel gave him an irritated look and continued reading.

"Formerly stationed at the Eastern Gate of Eden; pled guilty to misplacing military technology; cleared of theft at tribunal; demoted and stationed on earth. Your last report is late, Aziraphael."

Aziraphale produced a limp scroll.

"I've been, um, busy, sir."

"Damn your last report!" Raguel yelled.

The scroll burst into flames and Aziraphale dropped it quickly. Gabriel sighed.

"What have you been up to?" Raguel continued. "Account for all your dealings with humans in the last two centuries, right now."

"Er, um, I -- try to help them?" Aziraphale whispered, unsure of the correct response.

"And how do you do that? Have you grown close to any particular humans? Exactly how friendly would you say your relations are with human women?"

"Huh?" Aziraphale said.

That didn't seem to be the correct response at all, given that Raguel got angrier. The archangel stood up and leaned across the desk, the better to yell directly into Aziraphale's face.

"Have you been giving human civilisation advanced technological information? Have you been inventing frivolities to take their minds off Ineffability? What do you know about the current remarkably forward-thinking generation of human leaders? Did you father any of them? How many human women have you slept with?"

Aziraphale stared at him in horror. That was what this was about? He'd thought he was running into more angels than usual over the last few years. They couldn't have been so -- silly -- could they? He thought of some of the kings he'd had to deal with, and how they were all handsome, inventive six-footers. Oh dear. Official policy seemed to be disapproving of all of -- that. He was all right surely; he'd been here quite some time, but he hadn't done any such thing. Raguel seemed to have made his mind up already, though. Everyone knew he was more interested in punishment than justice. Aziraphale could barely hear what Raguel was yelling, he was so scared.

"No!" he squeaked. "I haven't done any of that! Honestly, sir, I haven't!"

Raguel glared deeply into his eyes, then sat down.

"I believe you," he said.

Aziraphale took an unnecessary breath so he could sigh in relief.

"But you should have reported what was going on," Raguel said. "You're looking at another demotion, you useless creature."

"Maybe he did report it," Gabriel said petulantly. "Of course, it's difficult to tell, seeing as you incinerated the thing."

He and Raguel looked at each other in cordial dislike. Aziraphale found it prudent to focus on his bare feet in the dust.

"Was that in your report?" Gabriel asked.

"I don't know, sir, I can't remember what was in it at the moment," Aziraphale whispered, still looking at his toes.

"That's not good enou-," Raguel started.

"I believe this is my concern?" Gabriel said icily. "He may be slapdash but he's obviously not lying. Just make sure you turn your next report in on time, Aziraphael. Go to the right."

Aziraphale walked off shakily. The questionings continued. Gabriel and Raguel got more and more ratty with each other. Raphael began mouthing "save me" at Uriel, who resolutely refused to make eye contact with Michael. Both groups of angels were silent and scared, huddled together for comfort. Finally it was over. There were more or less equal numbers of angels in both groups. The archangels conferred together for a while. Raphael seemed very glad to no longer be listening to Michael. All of them but Raguel drew their swords. Aziraphale found the angel beside him clutching his arm in fear.

"You lot! Over here!" Michael called them.

They were herded into a circle round the other group. The two lots of angels looked at each other in terror. Aziraphale felt sick. He knew angels in both groups. Raguel stepped forward.

"You vile degenerates are an abomination," he said in ringing tones. "You are condemned out of your own mouths. As for the rest of you, witness the Vengeance of the Lord and take heed of your inadequacies. May His vengeance be visited swiftly on the unrighteous."

He was holding a bolt of lightning, Aziraphale saw. Oh no. No, no. The archangel flung the bolt into the midst of the huddled angels, who screamed in horror and shielded their faces with their wings. There was a terrible rending sound, and the earth opened up beneath them. They fell into searing blackness, still screaming, trying to fly but finding their wings useless. The angels witnessing their fall were screaming too.

"Ahaziel, Ahaziel," the angel beside Aziraphale wept, leaning dangerously far forward.

Aziraphale grabbed him and held tight. It was impossible to think, impossible to do anything except feel the most awful horror and fear and pity. The earth slammed shut again and he let his neighbour go, dully noting that he'd grabbed the fellow tight enough to leave bruises. The archangels swept the others up to Heaven, and he was alone. He sat down in the dust, and tried to weep. After a long time of sitting there, dry-eyed and numb, he stiffly got to his feet and slowly walked away.


When Inibgula was twelve she was already taller than most men. She had long since stopped childish games and was known throughout the village for her skills with healing and her sweet singing. When she was fourteen a great lord from the city saw her, and took her as his wife. She was only a secondary wife, but when she looked at her little son she knew her husband would declare him the heir. She laid her hand gently on his cheek and called him her dearest child. He had dark gold hair and grey eyes, and she knew he would be tall. Her husband had been enchanted with his new-born son, and had told her she could name him anything she wished. The name she wanted, she had never known. No matter. Her son would be a great warrior and a power in the land. Her gentleman would still be proud of her.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterwards, when the Sons of God came in to the Daughters of Man and they begot children with them. They were the warriors who were from Eternity, the men of renown. Gen 6:4


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